As the Republican National Convention kicks off in earnest today, the country’s eyes will be looking to how Republicans shape and communicate their goals for the next four years. Part of this will be the GOP platform, which will outline the party’s governing philosophy and goals. (So far, it’s not looking good for immigrants, abortion, same-sex marriage or pornography.)
As we wrote last week, part of the platform deals exclusively with D.C., notably in opposing statehood and supporting enhanced gun rights. There’s more to it, though — Politico got a draft copy of the platform, and a section titled “Preserving the District of Columbia” is included under the scope of “Reforming Government to Serve the People.” Below we include the section on D.C. and parse a few of the claims.
The nation’s capital city, a special responsibility of the federal government, belongs both to its residents and to all Americans, millions of whom visit it every year. Congressional Republicans have taken the lead in efforts to foster home ownership and open access to higher education for Washington residents. Against the opposition of the current President and leaders of the Democratic Party, they have fought to establish, and now to expand, the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program, through which thousands of low-income children have been able to attend a school of their choice and receive a quality education.
Fair points, all similarly made by the D.C. GOP in its own adopted platform recommendations for 2012. Of course, there’s no mention of the fact the Republicans blocked the city from spending its own money on needle-exchange programs for years, which could well have slowed the transmission of HIV/AIDS. Or that a 1998 referendum on medical marijuana was held up for a decade, and that same-sex marriage could well be overturned by Congress at any point.
More broadly, this section cuts to the core of an inherent contradiction in the Republican Party when it comes to D.C.: This is the party of states’ rights, except when it comes to D.C. residents making decisions for themselves. No, D.C. isn’t a state, but that’s a pretty thin legal justification to hang some Republican impositions on. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) wants the government out of everone’s business, but it’s OK for him to use the government to get into D.C.’s business on guns, abortion and labor rights?
[Continue reading Martin Austermuhle’s post at DCist.com.]